The Big Recycle campaign has been launched across the UK in a bid to tackle the landfill crisis. The government is trying to induce more people to adopt recycling as a way of life as it seeks to control the ever-growing waste mountain.
New figures have shown that at least 60 percent of all household rubbish is recyclable. Anna Richards, manager of Waste Awareness Wales says, “At the moment, we’re throwing away about 80% of our rubbish. Why we don’t recycle is a big question. It’s certainly the case that other countries in Europe recycle more than us. Recycling is actually very easy. More and more, we’re seeing kerbside collections and, if you haven’t got that, just put it in the car and drop before you shop – take it to the supermarket and use the recycling bins there. Everyone can take part in a smaller way and it will make a huge difference.”
Launching the Big Recycle campaign this week, Environment minister Ben Bradshaw said that the UK would be able to meet the target of recycling 25 percent of waste next year, but cautioned that there was a lot of work to be done yet, “We need to continue expanding our recycling infrastructure, and encouraging all households and businesses to play their part. Awareness-raising campaigns such as the Big Recycle have an important role in shifting public attitudes. Councils have improved incredibly and so have we as a country. We have more than doubled since ’97, we will have trebled by next year the amount we recycle – it’s still not nearly enough, we need to do more. We are still lagging a heck of a long way behind the rest of Europe,” he said.
Last year was a good for the UK as far as recycling was concerned. A study by Valpak’s Pack flow project says that UK households recycled around a third of all their packaging in 2004; which means approximately 3.5 billion glass bottles and jars, 1 billion plastic bottles, 2 billion aluminum cans and 2.5 billion steel cans were recycled. Commenting on the findings of the study, Mr. Bradshaw said, “I welcome this new study which show that households and businesses are recycling more than ever before, which is excellent news. There is no doubt that it is becoming easier to recycle in the UK, and that people are becoming increasingly keen to do so.”
But environmental organizations have warned that a huge amount of work still needs to be done to meet the target of recycling 30 percent of waste by 2010, Martin Williams, of Friends of the Earth, said, “Local councils have done well to meet targets the government has set but those targets haven’t been ambitious by international standards.”
The Big Recycle campaign is organized by the Waste and Resources Action Programme and UK recycling organizations British Glass, Corus, Novelis, Paperchain, Recoup and Valpak.